Social media giants Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram have decided to temporarily ban all ads and shopping listings that are trying to exploit the coronavirus (Covid-29) emergency. This would also include the ads for face masks.
Facebook, in its policy update, has clearly specified that it will be banning all ads and listings of medical face masks, meanwhile, Instagram has made no such claims. The image and video sharing platform, in a tweet, highlighted that it will be banning all ads exploiting the situation.
Besides this, Instagram will also be blocking and restricting all hashtags that are being used to spread misinformation on its platform.
For Facebook, the announcement was made by Rob Leathern, who leads the trust/integrity team for ads and business products at Facebook. Leathern took to Twitter to announce the update in the policy, assuring that the company is “monitoring COVID19 closely and will make necessary updates to our policies if we see people trying to exploit this public health emergency.”
Facebook will be enforcing the decision in a couple of days. Even Mark Zuckerberg, on March 3, highlighted the steps taken by Facebook to stop any misinformation about coronavirus outbreak. He added, “We’re also blocking people from running ads that try to exploit the situation — for example, claiming that their product can cure the disease.”
“Our teams are monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely and will make necessary updates to our policies if we see people trying to exploit this public health emergency,” Facebook said, in a recent blog post.
Facebook, along with other social media platforms such as Twitter, Google and YouTube have decided to regulate their platforms online content to fish out fake news and misinformation regarding coronavirus. For this, the companies have partnered with World Health Organizations (WHO).
Besides this, the companies have also started relying on their third-party fact-checkers to remove content with claims that have been debunked by WHO and local health authorities. Moreover, Facebook is also giving free ads to WHO to spread correct information.
“We’re focusing on claims that are designed to discourage treatment or taking appropriate precautions. This includes claims related to false cures or prevention methods — like drinking bleach cures the coronavirus — or claims that create confusion about health resources that are available,” Facebook said in a blog post, published on January 30, 2020.